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Username Post: Let's talk Wire Edge
BurkeCutlery
Master Member KnifeNut!

BurkeCutlery
04-08-10 02:48.50 - Post#2106060    

So pretty much everyone here can be put into 2 camps, those who are knifenuts because they have great tools and don't care about chromium oxide spray, and those who are knifenuts because they will forever hunt down and eliminate the White Whale that is the Wire Edge.

Now, all hobbyist perfection aside, in a professional kitchen utility is king, and often, that means durability. I KNOW I have wire edges on both of my knives, and honestly, I'm having trouble coming up with a good reason to spend the extra cash to remove it. I touch my knives up on a #2000 Shapton Pro for less than 5 minutes total once or twice a week, and they are the sharpest knives in my workplace. Sure the edge gets dull in a few days, but it's just 5 minutes(total, cause I don't have to soak my stone).

As far as I know, even those without a wire edge still need to strop/hone/otherwise maintain your knife sometimes.

What is the reason for removing a wire edge, down to that pure cutting edge that Dave provides with his service? Durability would provide a sense of value to those paying for his service, but for oneself, what does burr removal provide?

I know, 'whatever works for you', but I wanna know what works for YOU. If total burr removal means zero maintenance for 2 months, I'll do it.
johnarmr
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 03:51.14 - Post#2106105    

Ok I would seriously like somebody to send me one of the magical knives that do not have a wire edge and that will last in a prof enviroment for 2 months with out fine tuning or hell even touching up on the stones? I am just not sure there is a knife that will last that long in a pro kitchen ?
spaceconvoy
Master Member KnifeNut!

spaceconvoy
04-08-10 03:56.00 - Post#2106107    

Micro bevel works for me. People go through that whole crazy deburring process because they want the ultimate thin low-angle edge without the wire... very hard to get. Easier to just put a microbevel on a thin edge. It'll take the wire off, and you'll still have 95% of the performance / thinness.
paulraphael
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 05:05.39 - Post#2106151    

I try hard not to be the practical guy and not the fetish guy. And still I'm petty sure that getting rid of the wire is a big deal.

It's the difference between an edge that performs well for minutes and one that performs well for hours or days.

Guys i know who sharpen better than me get rid of the wire (or most of it) without too much fuss. It's a question of the right skills and techniques. I've been getting better, but have a ways to go.
BurkeCutlery
Master Member KnifeNut!

BurkeCutlery
04-08-10 05:49.42 - Post#2106170    

I hope I didn't exclude Dave from this, as he is the Captain Ahab I was referring to, and his input on this is of the utmost value.

Maybe the things I use my knife for pale in comparison to some, but aside from busting chicken bones, beheading fish or something I do it all, and my edge lasts all week on a slow week and 2 days on a SLAMMED weekend. And that requires about 5 minutes on my stone to get it sharp enough to shave armhair and cut effortlessly though whatever I'm cutting. Doesn't seem to be a huge amount of maintenance. Maybe I'm doing something right, maybe my standards are just low. But if I put my knife on a cucumber and pull the handle back pinching it sideways with 2 fingers and push forward, it falls through, and doesn't weigh that much.

But does it affect oxidation, grabbiness, etc? Is it just important for people who work at 4 Star restaurants doing prep for 300 covers a night? Does it affect the life of the blade?
willspear
Master Member KnifeNut!

willspear
04-08-10 06:23.12 - Post#2106183    

many 3 star michelin places house crappy knife skills the skill window is not just rated in stars a sharp knife keeps (Wash your Mouth out) from turning to crap a second after cutting it

you can see a sharp knife vs a dull one when you look at basil as a shining example.
johnarmr
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 07:10.02 - Post#2106208    

murray does kind of a littel demo on this in one of his videos he cuts an apple with a cheap knife that is like a hack saw and then cuts some of it with knife he sharpened and then at the end of the video you can see which one oxidized more rapidly.................

but for all the haters I am sure he edited the video to make his stuff look better lol
BurkeCutlery
Master Member KnifeNut!

BurkeCutlery
04-08-10 07:56.33 - Post#2106236    

Riiight...but MC's edges have huge wire edges, as evidenced by the findings of the recent sharpening olympics
willspear
Master Member KnifeNut!

willspear
04-08-10 08:10.03 - Post#2106252    

and yet he still won.....

and really for how massive a deal wire edges are talked to be lets see a few examples under magnification that are not fatigued burrs. Preferably from assorted angles and with assorted damage done to the wire edge with an undamaged portion connecting to compare and contrast.



watercrawl
Master Member KnifeNut!

watercrawl
04-08-10 09:00.40 - Post#2106291    

  • johnarmr Said:
murray does kind of a littel demo on this in one of his videos he cuts an apple with a cheap knife that is like a hack saw and then cuts some of it with knife he sharpened and then at the end of the video you can see which one oxidized more rapidly.................

but for all the haters I am sure he edited the video to make his stuff look better lol



Yeah, but that's not a demonstration of the difference between cutting with a wire edge and one without. That's the difference between cutting with a butter knife and well sharpened knife.
Adam

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BurkeCutlery
Master Member KnifeNut!

BurkeCutlery
04-08-10 09:12.00 - Post#2106303    

  • watercrawl Said:
Yeah, but that's not a demonstration of the difference between cutting with a wire edge and one without. That's the difference between cutting with a butter knife and well sharpened knife.



My point exactly. So what IS the difference?
watercrawl
Master Member KnifeNut!

watercrawl
04-08-10 09:17.27 - Post#2106309    

Longevity of edge. A wire edge will fail long before an edge without will.

If you have a weak wire edge left at the end of your edge, once it fails, falls off, gets torn off, whatever....you're left with exposed edge that isn't sharpened. It couldn't be sharpened because it had the wire edge attached to it.
Adam

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ken123
Master Member KnifeNut!

ken123
04-08-10 11:38.40 - Post#2106431    

I think a more clear way of thinking about this is whether or not you have fatigued metal on your edge. If you have fatigued metal on an edge, it will fail more easily. You can choose to remove it or not generate it to begin with. Curtis chose not to generate it by his alternating stroke techniques, not requiring any deburring or burr busting until his last stone and then just by a swipe through a pencil eraser. Some would say that this would be a sure way to produce a wire edge. I would disagree. If an edge is too thin or acute for the task it will fail. A very thin edge with good solid metal will fail as surely as a wire edge. And a thin edge made of fatigued metal is doomed, the worst of all choices. I think the term 'wire edge' ignores these two cases, lumping them together and limiting more critical analysis. I strongly suspect that Murray's 'wire edge' was in fact a thinner edge that failed because it was thin, since it was mentioned that his bevels were widest. Failed with the belt test, but didn't fail hitting the board.

To be clear a big honking burr the whole length is clearly a 'wire' and leaving this on an edge is bad. But the other extreme of a finer more delicate edge with no fatigued metal being also considered a wire edge when you can only detect it by earlier edge failure for the task at hand is something altogether different.

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Ken
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Dave_Martell
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 11:51.48 - Post#2106447    

I say if your knives work for you at the level to which they've been sharpened/stropped/whatev er then you have no issues with wire edges. If however you feel that you're not happy with how long your edges last then maybe you do have wire edge issues.

Determining if this is something that you need or want to deal with is completely up to the you - the user of the knife.


johnarmr
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 12:09.57 - Post#2106470    

I am very sorry adam i was referring to wills post about basil and the way it oxidizes faster with a lower quality edge
jendeindustries
Master Member KnifeNut!

jendeindustries
04-08-10 12:22.47 - Post#2106488    

The 2K edge is certainly good enough, and better than most people ever hope to have (although not on this forum ). At the 2K Shapton Pro level you are approaching a small enough burr to still be able to slice cut effectively, provided that you aren't generating a big honking burr.

The only thing I would suggest is finishing on a 5K pro or 6K glass to really take the edge to the next level.

Even if you make a big burr while sharpening, if you make a few alternating, very light strokes at the end you can reduce the burr to the smallest it can be (1 pass worth). You can even remove it if you hit the correct angle - this is much easier to do with jigged sharpening such as the Edge Pro, Gizmo, etc.

Deburring with diamond also deburrs through abrasion, just with much less aggression. (7 microns for the 2K vs. 1, 0.5, or 0.25 microns for the diamonds.)
Tom Blodgett

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deanb
Master Member KnifeNut!

deanb
04-08-10 12:55.28 - Post#2106518    

How does hardness effect the difficulty of removing a wire edge? How about carbon vs stainless? In general, what are the factors in the ease of removing a wire edge??
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"

Dave_Martell
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 13:04.34 - Post#2106528    

Strictly talking Japanese knives....

I have the most trouble with the higher end stainless knives like gokinkomoko (or whatever it's called) and mystery metals. For carbon, blue seems to be worse than AS and white is the easiest.

I'm not sure about hardness since I never paid much attention to the numbers on those knives that kick my ass. I'm sure it plays a role though. Something to look into....

Adagimp
Master Member KnifeNut!

Adagimp
04-08-10 14:13.23 - Post#2106591    

Aritsugu A being the easiest, right?
watercrawl
Master Member KnifeNut!

watercrawl
04-08-10 14:22.40 - Post#2106600    

  • Adagimp Said:
Aritsugu A being the easiest, right?



Man are you lucky you're so far away from Dave.
Adam

www.marrknives.com

Marr Knives on FB


watercrawl
Master Member KnifeNut!

watercrawl
04-08-10 14:23.33 - Post#2106602    

Hitachi white, 52100....the simplest simple carbon's....are the easiest to deburr and easiest to remove wire edges from in my experience.
Adam

www.marrknives.com

Marr Knives on FB


watercrawl
Master Member KnifeNut!

watercrawl
04-08-10 14:23.55 - Post#2106603    

  • johnarmr Said:
I am very sorry adam i was referring to wills post about basil and the way it oxidizes faster with a lower quality edge



Ahhh, makes much more sense now.
Adam

www.marrknives.com

Marr Knives on FB


Seb
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 15:09.26 - Post#2106637    

  • watercrawl Said:
Hitachi white, 52100....the simplest simple carbon's....are the easiest to deburr and easiest to remove wire edges from in my experience.



I have to agree. I've been playing with this new ebay 30X loupe w/ built-in LED ($7 shipped) and it's telling me everything about what's going on beyond the naked eye: first off, my WS#2 and AEB-L Yusukes don't generate burrs much; secondly, all I need to do to get rid of the micro-burrs (which show up as 'furriness' on the edge) is to swipe through champagne cork or, better yet, my cork sanding block which has a 'rubbery' texture. It actually seems to work better for me than the felt block.
Dave_Martell
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-08-10 15:52.10 - Post#2106662    

  • Adagimp Said:
Aritsugu A being the easiest, right?




You just had to bring the AA up.



deanb
Master Member KnifeNut!

deanb
04-08-10 16:00.07 - Post#2106670    

I think if you are uncertain about this Dave, I can't hope to know the answers. From my experience, though, harder is easier and carbon is easier than stainless. No better than a guess though.
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"

memorael
Master Member KnifeNut!

memorael
04-08-10 17:10.08 - Post#2106710    

I happen to think that there is several different things that fall into the equation. The biggest IMO is the metal, stainless metals tend to have a gummy texture, imagine them as very hard bubble gums (especially the aritsugu A) and when you sharpen them its not very different than trying to pry an old gum from the sidewalk it can be done it just is very abrasive and in general resistant to change.

The carbon steels remind me more of sugar cooked to the hard cracked stage where even if stuck to the pan a gently tap and it all comes apart from the pan (kinda like a chip in a knife).

On the burr theme and wheather or not one should remove it I would say always, at one point I thought raising a burr wasn't important but after sharpening my knives several times I have concluded that a knife doesn't get as sharp as it can unless a burr has been raised, think of it in these terms:
Why would one take a knife down to a 1k after finishing on a 10k? if the damage to the edge is so insignificant couldn't you just re sharpen using the same 10k or maybe a step below? I now some are saying well I can touch up my edge but does it ever really get as sharp as the original edge after a touch up? In my experience never.

Also I would consider a wire an edge where the reduction of metal is so much that your edge will look almost concave and at the moment of removal of this edge you end up with a flat surface and two planes not two planes that meet.
spaceconvoy
Master Member KnifeNut!

spaceconvoy
04-08-10 17:40.49 - Post#2106723    

  • memorael Said:
The carbon steels remind me more of sugar cooked to the hard cracked stage where even if stuck to the pan a gently tap and it all comes apart from the pan (kinda like a chip in a knife).



That reminds me of the Old Hickory knife I bought to practice sharpening on. The burr just seemed to flake away. Now I have an Aritsugu A, but I have to say I don't find it that hard to sharpen.

Aritsugu A steel takes a while to abrade, which can be a good thing while sharpening. Other steels can form a big burr in no time if you're not paying attention, but with the A steel it's easy to stop while the burr is still small. I put a fairly steep micro bevel on it (maybe 20 degrees each side), and don't have a problem with tenacious burrs or wire edges. It's definitely not a thin slicer, but very robust.
bugbear
Master Member KnifeNut!

bugbear
04-08-10 21:20.12 - Post#2106770    

OK.

Colour me stupid.

I've read enough posts, from enough people, to believe that wire edges exist, and are substantial enough to cause trouble.

Can some explain how the HELL a wire edge can persist when both sides of a bevel have been worked with (e.g.) 8000 grit (or higher).

The biggest wire than seems possible (in my inadequate understanding) is the size of the grit, and (as I understand people) the wire edges being discussed are a good deal larger than that.

I genuinely don't understand.

Diagrams would be good :-)

BugBear
sophath
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-09-10 02:45.28 - Post#2106895    

i think it's more about the steel being more wear resistant than hard. Hard steel that aren't too wear resistant with deburr easily (white steel, 10xx series) while the more wear resistant ones would be more of a pita (gokinko, cromova 18, blue steel)
jendeindustries
Master Member KnifeNut!

jendeindustries
04-09-10 14:34.27 - Post#2107421    

  • bugbear Said:
OK.

Colour me stupid.

I've read enough posts, from enough people, to believe that wire edges exist, and are substantial enough to cause trouble.

Can some explain how the HELL a wire edge can persist when both sides of a bevel have been worked with (e.g.) 8000 grit (or higher).

The biggest wire than seems possible (in my inadequate understanding) is the size of the grit, and (as I understand people) the wire edges being discussed are a good deal larger than that.

I genuinely don't understand.

Diagrams would be good :-)

BugBear



The same topic about burrs and wire edges is being held in the keeping sharp section, here.

There is also a really set of pictures depicting a wire edge and a burr in that thread posted by pcm81, here.

Tom Blodgett

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allumirati
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-09-10 15:21.28 - Post#2107445    

What really gets me is when you get the point where you think you got rid of the wire edge, then you test and realize it's still there.

Now I think the first step to fixing the problem is realizing the cause.

It's easy to see and understand a burr after you've made two planes meet. Then you can remove the burr to the point where you don't see it anymore. But then there's the tiny section behind the burr that is fatigued due to abrasion. I think most of us understand this much.

I've tried cutting into stuff, I've tried leather, I've tried felt, leather belt, paper, cardboard, rubber, smooth steels, and micro bevels, and I still have yet to find a way that consistently removes the wire. I've achieved it very few times. Which leads me to the theory that in trying not to make a wire edge in the first place.

This all being said I haven't had any experiences with carbon knives. I tend to like medium and fine grained stainless. I've also had somewhat consistent success with chisels which are tool steels (similar to Yoshikane SKD, Aristugu A steel, etc.).

How I've had success with chisels is getting the back flat and polished, then honing the front then cutting into mdf until the wire just falls off. Boy I wish I could do that with my stainless knives.

Now this wants me to make me try some single bevel knives (which I'm sure aren't quite the same). It's just the fact that I wouldn't use them very much (don't work in a kitchen anymore), I can't justify buying one (as I'm not rich).
the prophet
Member KnifeNut!

04-11-10 10:18.18 - Post#2108444    

This may sound stupid but is the wire edge just a microscopic burr that needs to be removed? And if so what is the best may to remove it, ie strop or stone? Thanks.
Dave_Martell
Master Member KnifeNut!

04-11-10 10:34.28 - Post#2108460    

  • the prophet Said:
This may sound stupid but is the wire edge just a microscopic burr that needs to be removed? And if so what is the best may to remove it, ie strop or stone? Thanks.




It may in fact be just that, I don't know. I just know that working it away and the results that follow are what I need to know about.

memorael
Master Member KnifeNut!

memorael
04-12-10 04:46.24 - Post#2108906    

I have been trying to find a poetic way of explaining the effect of a wire edge on a knife and here is what I came up with:

A knives edge when properly sharpened should look just like a very sharp mountain. A burr is the equivalent of a tree growing on top of said mountain, if one was to pull the tree out while doing so the root system would destroy the peak of the mountain too forming a plateau, if the burr is not properly disposed off your sharp edge will soon become something like said mountain flat and unsharp.
spaceconvoy
Master Member KnifeNut!

spaceconvoy
04-12-10 05:08.19 - Post#2108916    

That's a good analogy. Going further, imagine a wire edge is like the tree with all the branches cut off (deburred). From a really far distance it might look like the peak of the mountain, but it's the same weak tree as before, it just blends in easier.


rockbox
Master Member KnifeNut!

rockbox
04-12-10 22:00.59 - Post#2109473    



So is this ugly graphic an accurate representation of a wire edge and burr? If it is, shouldn't we be able to abrade the wire edge off by lightly cutting into an abrasive material such as a stone given we do it lightly enough so not to bend it over and created a folded edge. This would be similar to cutting into a piece of wood but with something more abrasive.
spaceconvoy
Master Member KnifeNut!

spaceconvoy
04-13-10 03:32.19 - Post#2109622    

Yep, that looks about right... But if you tried taking off the wire edge by slicing a stone, you'd just be dulling the actual edge. There's no easy way to do it, that's why wire edges are such a PITA.

Well, there is an easy way to do it (microbevel) but I guess the knifenuts see this as a sacrifice in performance. Only other way is all the light strokes, passes through felt, etc.
cdarroch
Journeyman KnifeNut!

cdarroch
04-13-10 03:38.50 - Post#2109627    

  • rockbox Said:


So is this ugly graphic an accurate representation of a wire edge and burr? If it is, shouldn't we be able to abrade the wire edge off by lightly cutting into an abrasive material such as a stone given we do it lightly enough so not to bend it over and created a folded edge. This would be similar to cutting into a piece of wood but with something more abrasive.




The theory would seem sound, but the "plow effect" might be too pronounced and actually flatter, rather than round/fold the edge? Just a guess.

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